Bennet, Gardner Announce Funding for NREL to Advance Solar Energy Technologies

NREL Selected As One of Three Teams to Compete for $25 Million to Develop System that Lowers Electricity Costs

Washington, D.C. – Colorado U.S. Senators Michael Bennet (D) and Cory Gardner (R) today announced the Department of Energy is awarding $8 million to the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) in Golden to advance high-temperature concentration solar power (CSP) technologies.

NREL is one of three teams across the country receiving funding to compete to build an integrated system that efficiently delivers solar heat and stores thermal energy. This high-temperature thermal system would boost the efficiency and lower the cost of electricity. After two years, the teams will subject their projects to a rigorous review process after which a single team will be awarded an additional $25 million to construct their proposed facility.

“Because of NREL’s innovation, Colorado is leading the country in promoting renewable energy technologies that address climate change,” Bennet said. “We congratulate NREL on its selection for this funding to advance solar power in a way that furthers its leadership and lowers electricity costs for Americans.”

“This is great news for NREL and their work to further advance solar-power research,” Gardner said. “Senator Bennet and I have worked together to ensure NREL has the necessary resources to continue to innovate and develop cutting-edge technologies. I look forward to seeing what new solar technology NREL creates using this new funding.”

High-Temperature CSP Technologies:

CSP technologies use mirrors to reflect and concentrate sunlight onto a focused point where it is collected and converted into heat. This thermal energy can be stored and used to produce electricity whenever it is needed. The best commercially available technologies can only reach 565°C. The high-temperature thermal systems targeted by this program seek to achieve at least 700 °C, which would boost the efficiency and lower the cost of the electricity. If successful, these projects will lower the cost of a CSP system by approximately $0.02 per kilowatt-hour, which is 40 percent of the way to the office’s 2030 cost goals of $0.05 per kilowatt-hour (kWh) for baseload CSP plants.

Learn more about the awardees in this program HERE. Learn more about DOE Solar Energy Technologies Office HERE.